Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE)

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Brussels, Belgium
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Climate Lobbying Overview: Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) appears to be positively engaged with climate policy in Europe in its top-line communications and advocacy on specific climate policy. However, its comments on the energy transition do not appear to align with its top-line messaging on climate change, as the organization continues to promote the role of natural gas in the energy mix and support hydrogen without clearly specifying whether this is renewable-based.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: GIE’s engagement with top-line messaging on climate policy appears to be positive. The organization is supportive of the Paris Agreement and has stated, within its 2050 Vision, that its “members are committed to fulfil the European Union objectives under the UN Paris Agreement” in 2019. Furthermore, in 2018 former GIE president Jean-Marc Leroy stated support for the EU’s 2050 climate neutral target in a press release. GIE appears to have a negative position on the need for climate change regulation. In its 2021 EU submission on the Gas Networks Roadmap, GIE emphasized the threat of loss of investor confidence to support limited climate change regulation.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: GIE appears to have a broadly positive position on climate regulation. In 2018, the association expressed support for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and stated “the ETS should be the main policy instrument to deliver market based CO2 emission reductions” on its corporate website. Additionally, GIE indicated support for the EU’s Renovation Wave in its consultation on the policy in 2020. Support for Renovation Wave was also echoed by GIE’s Secretary General, Boyana Achovski, in a Joint Letter on several EU policies in 2020. However, the support was qualified by advocating for switches from coal to natural gas to be considered in the policy on grounds of regional differences

While the organization has supported binding targets for renewables under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), it has also repeated lobbied for RED to be extended to include ‘low carbon gases', most recently in its response to the RED Review consultation in 2021. GIE has not specified what energy sources it includes under 'low carbon gases' or the extent to which CCS will accompany them. In a 2021 press release as part of the European Net Zero Alliance, GIE appeared to show support for the achievement of the EU’s 2030 GHG emission reduction target. The association has also suggested support for methane emission reduction regulation on Twitter in 2021.

Positioning on Energy Transition: GIE appears to be generally negatively engaged on the energy transition and have consistently advocated for the inclusion of natural gas and blue hydrogen in a variety of EU policies. The organization has supported a weakening of the EU’s TEN-E regulation by advocating for gas projects, that are currently excluded, to be re-included in the Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list in a 2020 position paper. Furthermore, in its 2020 consultation on the EU’s Hydrogen Strategy, it supported the inclusion of gas and hydrogen projects in the TEN-E regulation without placing clear conditions on CCS or methane emissions abatement.

The association has also advocated for the EU’s Energy Taxation Directive (ETD) to include support for natural gas in the form of lower taxation, in its 2020 ETD consultation submission. Additionally, in its 2021 comments on the Gas Network Roadmap, GIE appeared to support a greater role of renewable and low carbon gases in the energy mix, without clearly specifying what is included in its definition, and support for natural gas and hydrogen blending. In 2020, media source Euractiv stated GIE, as part of an industry alliance, supported a greater role of hydrogen formed from natural gas with CCS within the EU Hydrogen Strategy. In the same year, GIE president Torben Brabo in Euractiv, advocated for hydrogen to obtain a greater role in the energy mix without providing clarity on whether this was renewable hydrogen or not.